Torah Tidbits

Contemporary Curses

Shabbat Parashat B’har-B’chukotaifeatured-rabbi

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh

May 16, 2015 – 27 Iyyar 5775

Dear Friends,

The first curse mentioned in the long list of curses enumerated in this week’s double Torah portion, should we as a people fail to walk in God’s ways, is the curse of: “Beh’ha’la”.

In our Eitz Hayim chumash, the Hebrew word “Beh’ha’la” is translated as: “misery.”  However, in modern day Hebrew language, the plain meaning of the Hebrew word Beh’ha’la is closer to the English word: “anxiety.”    “Beh’ha’la,” in modern Hebrew, implies being frightened or being extremely rushed – an apt description of some of our most potent contemporary curses!

When I think of all the emails I have not had a chance to address, all the things on my “to do list” that are as yet undone, all the text messages that I intended to send, all the people I intended to call…I realize that we often live, day in and day out, with an intense sense of “Beh’ha’la.”  We may work so hard, that we never allow ourselves to sit back and to simply appreciate life.  We may forget to breathe and to take a moment to appreciate the miracle of the breath of life that sustains us.  In the rush of daily life, we tend to forget that God created us along with the entire world which surrounds us.  We are exhausted rather than awed by creation!

What does “walking in God’s ways” require of us?  Perhaps it is as simple as to remember to stop what we are doing and to enjoy Shabbat (unplugged), once a week.  Perhaps it is to allow ourselves to come to morning minyan on a Monday or Thursday morning.  Perhaps it is to remember to pray three times a day.  These are all part of the Jewish way of life that our tradition invites us to enjoy so that we may be refreshed, renewed, re-invigorated and much more appreciative of the gifts of life, of family and of community.

I look forward to seeing you at services this Shabbat, and at morning minyanim, and I pray that we may be blessed with many blessings to counteract the contemporary curses that threaten to overtake our lives.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror